Before diving into what this legendary Alexander cocktail recipe is all about, here are a bunch of other classic gin mixed drink recipes you'll love: the Classic Gin Martini
, the Tom Collins
, the Singapore Sling
, the Gimlet
and the French 75.
Alright, now let’s get into some of the history of the Alexander cocktail recipe. And yes, we qualify this endeavor with the word “some,” ‘cause there’s a lot of history here, and as with so many other cocktails (like the Piña Colada
) the story is murky at best. Before even getting into the historical “deets” of this gorgeous cream cocktail recipe, we should note that this Alexander is the O.G. Alexander cocktail. And now you're thinking, “of course it is, stop being stupid.” But wait! There’s also the Brandy Alexander, which is a classic cocktail recipe as well, but still only a later variation on the original Alexander cocktail recipe. The difference is this: The original Alexander calls for gin, cocoa liqueur (a.k.a. Crème de cacao) and cream, while the Brandy Alexander calls for the gin to be replaced by, you guessed it, brandy. Side note: The Alexander cocktail recipe Wiki
says that the original recipe calls for “some form of alcohol” along with the cocoa liqueur and cream, but all the other sources we checked say that gin was the go-to booze in the original recipe. Now, where exactly did this Alexander cocktail recipe come from? Like we said, it’s murky. Imbibe Magazine notes
that Etymologist Barry Popik "credits the creation to Rector’s bartender Troy Alexander, who crafted the snow-white cocktail to celebrate the launch of an ad campaign for clean-burning coal on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad and featuring the fictitious Phoebe Snow dressed head-to-toe in white.” If you're wondering who this fictional Phoebe Snow character is, here’s her Wikipedia page.
And while most other sources also attribute the Alexander cocktail’s creation to Troy Alexander, there are some other somewhat plausible origin stories floating around out there — although most of them focus on the Brandy Alexander recipe. For example, Nightclub & Bar notes
that “One plausible story claims [the Brandy Alexander] cocktail was named for Russian tsar Alexander II of the House of Romanov.” Nightclub & Bar goes on to add that “perhaps the claim by Algonquin Round Table member, critic Alexander Woollcott, that the drink was named for him[,] is true.” The Algonquin Round Table
, for those who don’t know (like us from five minutes ago), was “a group of New York City writers, critics, actors, and wits… [that] met for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929.” In terms of how the Alexander cocktail caught on as a popular drink, Food 52
notes that “After being committed to print in Hugo Ensslin's 1916 work Recipes for Mixed Drinks, the cocktail took off in the U.S. during Prohibition, and abroad when it was the featured creation at the wedding of Princess Mary in 1922.” Oh, and apparently nobody really knows when the Alexander was supplanted by the Brandy Alexander, but Food52 notes that “by the 1930s, the transformation was all but complete, and the Brandy Alexander was a hit.” If all these ready about the delicious Alexander cocktail recipe has you in the mood for even more cream-based dessert cocktails, check out these bad boys: the Frozen Brandy Alexander
, Kahlua & Cream Milkshake
, the Frozen Irish Cream Hot Chocolate
, Frozen Ice Cream Mudslide
, and the Oreo & Irish Cream Shake.
1 oz. (30ml) Gin
1 oz. (30ml) White Crème de Cacao
1 oz. (30ml) Cream
Garnish: Grated Nutmeg
1. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
2. Grate nutmeg on top. Serve.